Friday, March 05, 2010

Bloom Box and Artificial Photosynthesis

A couple of weeks ago, CBS' 60 minutes focused on K.R. Sridhar's innovation, the Bloom Box, a small sized wireless power plant that can generate energy for your house. That's a form of clean energy. We can envision that in the next 10 years, all homes would supply electricity for themselves with the Bloom Box that I looked at as the miniature of a monolith (Tycho Magnetic Anomoly-4!).

Now Dan Nocera of MIT made an absolutely remarkable innovation that artificially mimics photosynthesis. Dr. Nocera has created a catalyst that uses sunlight to convert water and carbon-di-oxide into hydrogen and oxygen, in a project funded by ARPA-E, which in turn was funded by the stimulus package. The generated hydrogen and oxygen can then be recombined in a fuel cell to produce energy. Please look at the embedded video.

These innovations are impressive. However I don't know whether they can produce clean, sustainable energy at industrial scale at a low cost. Many of the clean energy companies face this problem of huge production cost and problem with production in scale. If one or both of these technologies work, they can be the Holy Grail for all our energy crisis (both present and future). Who knows? May be they can be fitted in automobiles, like cars, trains and planes to operate them without wasting the fossil fuels and without polluting the environment. Great independent work by Dr. Sridhar and Dr. Nocera and more importantly their teams! Hats off!!

UPDATE: You can watch the CBS' coverage of K.R.Sridhar's Bloom Box here. Sorry, I cannot embed that video.

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